10 Takeaways From Latest Apple-Samsung Patent Infringement Trial

10 Takeaways From Latest Apple-Samsung Patent Infringement Trial
Big Money Could Change Hands
The Arguments Have All Been Heard Before
It's About Google and Android
Use Matters, Samsung Says
Sheer Number of Allegedly Infringing Devices Is Staggering
Does Brand Matter More Than Functionality?
There's No Love Lost
The Jury Will Lack Technical Expertise
Samsung Wants the War to Shift to Google
It's Unlikely Much Will Change
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10 Takeaways From Latest Apple-Samsung Patent Infringement Trial

By Don Reisinger

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Big Money Could Change Hands

Apple has put a massive price tag on this one. With help from an expert witness, Apple argues that Samsung should pay $2.19 billion in damages for its alleged infringement of Apple's patents. The figure was arrived at by calculating reasonable royalties and lost profits, according to Apple.

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The Arguments Have All Been Heard Before

The same arguments have been heard time and again in courtrooms around the world during earlier patent lawsuits between the two companies. Apple says that Samsung has quite obviously infringed on its patents, while Samsung says that the iPhone maker is making arguments that can't hold up, given the "generic" nature of its patents. Samsung, meanwhile, says Apple is infringing on its patents. And around and around we go.

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It's About Google and Android

The crux of Apple's argument appears to be about Google and Android rather than Samsung. Indeed, only one of the asserted software patents in this case isn't baked into Android as a standard feature. Samsung, of course, keeps pointing out that much of Apple's issues appear to be with Android and argues that the open-source platform might be the iPhone maker's true target and not actually Samsung.

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Use Matters, Samsung Says

Samsung has made a rather interesting argument: If the asserted patents are so important to Apple, why aren't many of the features found in the company's products? As Samsung attorney John Quinn said, Apple has brought to the court "very small features" that either have no impact on sales or aren't even in Apple products any longer. Apple says that such comments are false and misleading and Apple does have a fiduciary responsibility to protect all intellectual property. Samsung's argument, however, might carry weight in the appeal process, if not in the jury verdict.

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Sheer Number of Allegedly Infringing Devices Is Staggering

Apple says 10 Samsung devices, including the Galaxy Note II, Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, violate its patents. Samsung, meanwhile, argues that nine Apple products, including the iPhone 5 and iPad Mini, are violating its patents. Those devices made the list only after Judge Koh, the presiding judge in the case, asked the companies to pare down their infringements to make the case manageable.

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Does Brand Matter More Than Functionality?

Samsung isn't necessarily saying there aren't similarities between the features of its products and those of Apple's. However, it argues that those aforementioned "small features" don't help sell products, saying it's all about the company building the products and the devices itself. The argument is designed to make the jury question Apple's damages and spread doubt about its estimates of lost profits.

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There's No Love Lost

If anything is abundantly clear, it's that Apple and Samsung can't stand each other. Executives from both sides are testifying with venom not typically seen in public comments. And attorneys for both companies are using loaded language, arguing that the other "copied" and "stole" intellectual property. There is no love lost between Apple and Samsung.

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The Jury Will Lack Technical Expertise

As is typical with jurors selected at random from the local voter lists to hear a patent infringement case, most have little to no technology expertise. Because they might not understand many of the technical and legal concepts being argued in the case, the verdict is sure to be appealed on multiple grounds. Appeals could continue for years without any final resolution.

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Samsung Wants the War to Shift to Google

Samsung's argument that Apple's chief concern appears to be Android is about transitioning the focus of this case to Google. In fact, a Google engineer was the first witness presented to the jury by Samsung, and Google was the focus of much of the arguments made on Samsung's first day of arguments. Samsung wants to make the jury believe that Apple should lay its accusations about patent infringement at Google's door.

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It's Unlikely Much Will Change

Despite all of the hype surrounding this case, it's unlikely, given recent history, that anything will change between the companies. Apple and Samsung will continue to fight legal battles over patent infringement, the losing firm will appeal the ruling and damages, and it's unlikely that mobile devices that consumers actually want to use will be banned from sale. In many ways, this latest Apple-Samsung case appears to be an exercise in futility. It's unfortunate that the companies don't find a way to bring an end to the litigation and go back to focusing on innovation.

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